How to Mail Your Taxes to the IRS

Where to Send Returns, Payments, and Extensions

A Guide to Mailing Tax Documents to the IRS: The IRS strongly recommends e-filing if possible. Physical copies must be postmarked by the tax due date. Visit "Where to File" on the IRS website to see your state’s mailing address for tax returns. Note: The mailing address will be dependent on whether you’re sending money or not. Mailing addresses will be different for other tax documents, so read the IRS website carefully. If you live outside the U.S., use a private delivery service to mail your documents

Image by Lara Antal © The Balance 2021

It's usually best to go the extra mile when you're dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), even if it feels like a nuisance or a waste of time. That's even more applicable if you're one of the few people who still files a paper or “snail-mail” tax return rather than filing electronically.

Following a few guidelines will ensure that your tax return goes to the proper address, that it gets there on time—and that you have proof of delivery.

Where to Mail Your Personal Tax Return

The IRS has more addresses than you might imagine because its processing centers are located all around the country. The address you'll use depends on what you're mailing and where you live. Go to the Where to File page on the IRS website if you're sending a personal tax return, an amended return, or if you're asking for an extension of time to file. The page includes links for every state. 

Note that the mailing address is usually different if you're submitting a payment with your return. You’ll typically mail returns with payments to the IRS, and returns without payments to the Department of the Treasury.

IRS addresses do change periodically, so don’t automatically send your 2020 tax return to the same place you sent it in previous years.

Note that the IRS uses zip codes to help sort incoming mail. To make sure your return gets to the right place as quickly as possible, include the last four digits after the five-digit zip code. For example, if delivering a Form 1040 in 2021 with payment from California, the correct address (with the four-digit zip code extension) is:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 802501
Cincinnati, OH 
45280-2501

Use a Secure Method to Mail Your Return

Always use a secure method, such as certified mail, return receipt requested, when you're sending returns and other documents to the IRS. It will provide confirmation that the IRS has actually received your documents or payment.

In addition to addressing it correctly and using sufficient postage, be sure the envelope is postmarked no later than the date your return is due. If you use registered mail, the date of the registration is the postmark date; if you use certified mail, the date stamped on the receipt is the postmark date. If you use an IRS-approved private carrier (see below), make sure the return is sent out no later than the date due. 

Other Tax Forms

The IRS address may be different if you're filing something other than a personal tax return. For example, estimated payments and Form 1040-ES, amended returns, and IRS Form 4868 for tax extensions all have their own individual addresses. The Where to File page on the IRS website provides links for these other forms as well.

Mailing a Business Tax Return 

You can find the proper mailing address for various business tax forms on the the IRS website as well:

How to Mail Tax Returns If You Live Outside the U.S.

You can send your tax return or payment using the U.S. Postal Service if you're mailing from inside the U.S., but consider using a private delivery service otherwise, especially if you want proof that your tax return was sent on time.

Approved Delivery Services

You can use private delivery services FedEx, UPS, or DHL Express, but must use one of the approved classes of service for each carrier:

  • FedEx: Use Priority Overnight Standard Overnight, 2 Day, International Priority, International First, First Overnight, International First Next Flight Out, or International Economy
  • UPS: Use Next Day Air, Next Day Air Saver, 2nd Day Air, 2nd Day Air A.M., Worldwide Express Plus, Worldwide Express, or Next Day Air Early AM
  • DHL Express: Use DHL Express, DHL Express Worldwide, DHL Express Envelope, DHL Import Express, or Import Express Worldwide

International taxpayers often mail their returns to Austin, TX or Charlotte, NC (if submitting payment). But the address where you send your return might differ. Check the appropriate address on the IRS website.

The IRS will accept the "sent on" date on envelopes sent using an approved carrier just as it does with U.S. mail.

If you're mailing more than one tax return to the same location, consider placing each in its own envelope and then putting all envelopes into a larger envelope. Mail the larger envelope to the IRS by certified mail, return receipt requested.

Hand Delivering Your Return 

Under normal circumstances, you can hand deliver your return to a local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center if there's one near where you live. You would ask the IRS agent for a stamped receipt upon submitting it.

As of 2020, walk-ins are no longer accepted, though you may be able to make an appointment. The IRS website provides locations, addresses, and phone numbers for each state.